I found myself there once again, struggling to breathe with the realization that I was mourning the future that would never be. I got the message late on Saturday night that one of my closest friends had passed away. I sat there stunned, wondering how many more times in my lifetime would I feel this particular strike against my heart and weight upon my body. Too soon. It’s always too soon and I felt like I was unfairly left as the one still standing.
I met Kimmie through music. I played for Seastar and she played for Below Blackstar and our bands shared the stage enough times that I became acquainted with her. As outgoing as I might seem to people on the surface, I was not and am still not someone who immediately opens up to new people. I can credit Christopher for fostering and encouraging Kimmie and I to get to know each other and when my brother was killed seven years ago I leaned upon them both heavily during that dark time.
In some ways, Kim was witness to me rediscovering my sense of self. We would spend hours philosophizing about the ways of the world. The talk would got to religion, God, and I would tell Kimmie that it was easy to see that she spent a lot of her time in the angelic realm and she was only tethered here by a string. We would explore nature and peer through portals of space and time, checking in with each other to see if we were letting our imagination get the best of us.
She stood by me when I made terrible decisions about relationships. The first one, she knew I was making a terrible mistake and so did I. We even had a conversation where I told her that it was something that I needed to step through and she agonized when I did just that and withdrew from the rest of the world. When I returned, I promised her that I would never cut myself off like that again no matter how ashamed I might be of my decisions.
During this time that I knew her, she was conscious about the lump in her chest. I didn’t know or hear about it until we had started to go to hot yoga together. The lump had hardened and she was seeing discharge. I encouraged her to go get it checked out and she pursued natural medicine until it hemorrhaged. Then it was her turn to withdraw from the world. I didn’t hear from her for months and by then she had found Dr. Chu who was a unique doctor with a blend of western and eastern medicine that refused to see stage IV breast cancer as a death sentence. I couldn’t imagine the nightmare she had been living during those months of her initial diagnosis.
I have so much to write and so many stories to tell. Kimberly got four more years after that initial diagnosis! There was even a point in time where the hope was so blazing we thought the cancer had been chased away. I’m sure that she’s still going to be in medical books for all the daily miracles she pulled out of her from that angelic realm. I am so grateful for that extra time to know her and even live with her and her family for a short time. I’m heartbroken that I didn’t get more time with her and am devastated that she left with things she still wanted to do in this life.
I am mourning a future that will never be. I mourned that Kimmie never met my brother, Paul, or Susan. I mourn that many people that I will meet will never know Kim and her laughter. We won’t make up songs any more using our animal’s accents as plot devices or tell funny stories about our fathers. I won’t have her at my back as my warrior, sizing up anyone that could break my heart. Those quiet walks around the block, into the woods, or weeping around a medicine wheel at the earth sanctuary are now things of the past. For the brief period of time we knew each other, we grew incredibly close. Now, I have a giant hole in my heart.
I know Kimberly’s family is reeling in a worse way. Reaching, stumbling, as they try to understand and make sense of the whole situation. I’m sure it feels unreal, unnatural, and completely unfair. All I can do is offer up my heart.
People ask me if I’m okay, and that’s never a good question for someone grieving. The answer is always no. I will find my way back to okay but the truth of the matter is: I’ll never be the same.